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Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans Paperback – May 8, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Sadly, many Americans have little or no knowledge of this epic battle, one of the most consequential and lopsided victories in U.S. history. Andrew Jackson and a polyglot band of Tennessee and Kentucky "brown shirts," French Creoles, Indians, Free Men of Color (many of them refugees from the slave revolt in Haiti), Privateers, and ordinary New Orleans citizens did not just repulse a vastly superior force of British invaders. They decimated Wellington's Finest, fresh off their victory over Napoleon. The British suffered some 3,750 casualties, including 850 killed, as compared with 55 Americans killed and 333 total casualties. Included among the 850 was Wellington's brother-in-law, General Sir Edward Pakenham, overall commander of the British ground forces. Pakenham, whose remains were shipped back to England preserved in a vat of rum, inherited a bad strategic situation and, Grooms says, made it worse.
Groom maintains there may never have been a New Orleans victory -or thus a Jackson Presidency - without Jean Laffite and his Privateers from the island of Barataria. Rejecting British offers of cash and bounty, the Baratarians provided the Americans with desperately needed munitions, especially gunpowder; an intimate familiarity with the terrain and waterways leading to New Orleans; and a skill in handling artillery that may have been decisive. What's more, it was Laffite who convinced Jackson to strength and extend his left line, prescient counsel that helped to thwart the British attack plan.Read more ›
This well written popular history of the battle by Winston Groom will help anyone who is not already a scholar on the subject, learn more about the famous Battle of New Orleans, what was really at stake, the great leadership of Andrew Jackson, the vital contributions of Jean Laffite and his Baratarian privateers (well, pirates), and the strength of the British that was squandered by the mistakes of the British officers.
Groom provides a nice background of the life of Andrew Jackson and the political context that led to the War of 1812 (and the stupidity of the political leaders on both sides) and how the Indian war led by Tecumseh contributed to Jackson and his army being where they were to thwart the British in late 1814 and early 1815. The life of Jean Laffite is also told in what detail we know. The author does a nice job in letting us know when there are different points of view and varying claims about the biographies of Jackson, Lafitte, and the forces in the battle.
On paper, the battle should have gone the vast resources the British brought to the battle. A huge number of ships, thousands upon thousands of professional soldiers, tons of gunpowder, cannon, and shell, and confidence born of success in battle in Europe.Read more ›
To begin with, Groom takes the point of view of many American writers on the War of 1812; that the English resented our independence and wanted to crush democracy. This is not true and there is no evidence that this was English policy. WE (America) started the war, partly because of England's impressment policy, and partly because western Americans wanted to conquer Canada. England spent most of the war fighting defensively to save Canada from OUR invasion. After Napoleon's first abdication in 1814, England was able to turn to an offensive war, but even then their policy was muddled and without direction. Mostly, they were looking for a way to get out of the war, as the English treasury was broke after years of fighting France. Their attempts to invade America were an effort to gain leverage in diplomatic negotiations, which were concluded before the Battle of New Orleans was fought.
Also, he indicates that the English were disconcerted by the American style of combat, because they were used to fighting "European style." This is the "minutemen vs. redcoats" stereotype of history. What he overlooks is that the English army in New Orleans included elements of the Light Brigade, who were trained to skirmish and fight "Indian style." So this type of war was not unfamilar to the English. Also, much of the English army had fought in the Peninsular War, which as the first guerilla war saw barbarism equal to anything on the American frontier.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Andrew Jackson has fallen out of favor in recent years since he was a ruthless warrior and (gasp!) a slave owner, but he was a product of his times and his foundational distrust of... Read morePublished 6 months ago by D. Buxman
A light, conversational, sometimes thrilling, and always charming history of the Battle of New Orleans. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Leon Miller
This book has a good balance of historical research and commitment to keeping it interesting.Published 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
My appreciation for Winston Groom's books and writing is already a matter of record. That record remains intact with Patriotic Fire. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Marty R
Mr Groom is an outstanding author regarding history and excels in research. good reading for a Louisiana guyPublished 11 months ago by Butler.services
A great story told in a great style making for a great read of an event which shaped the future of our country.Published 13 months ago by Dr. Frank E. Schmidt
Too much war details for me. I enjoyed Andrew Jackson and want to read more about him. I also enjoyed the main two British generals.Published 13 months ago by tomthegardener